Saturday, July 17, 2010

Hiking Toward Keddie

Yesterday morning, as we headed out of camp toward Keddie, I was struck by the beauty of this California Incense Cedar. I speculated that it had been struck by lightning, perhaps 20 years ago, causing the split. The symmetry of the split trunk and the first pair of branches above the split looked beautiful against a clear blue sky. Just as I was explaining how this sort of thing happens, a lady stepped out of her tent behind us and exclaimed that she was camping here when it happened. She was a little girl, camping with her parents, around 20 years ago, when camp was hit with a particularly strong thunderstorm in which lightning caused quite few fires and branches were dropping from trees all around them. She gave a very dramatic presentation, confirming my hypothesis. I couldn't have staged the event better!
Further down the trail we saw lots of milkweeds of all 5 local varieties, and many were being visited by clerid beetles and butterflies. Then, as we approached a little creek crossing our trail, the gathering of swallowtail butterflies was intense. Here's one resting on Pennyroyal.

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